All things happen at their appointed time.
I have come once again to the forests and mountains, although these are a far cry from the ancient entities of my homeland. These forests are young, and most of the land here is cultivated for the surrounding civilizations.
Gone are the desert silks and swaths of cloth. In their place, I wear well fitted leather armor, and clothing made of cotton and wool. Blacks, blues and greens. I still feel strange showing my face, and have found that keeping my hair braided into a long rope keeps it from getting tangled in my weapons. I still wear it free flowing when we are not on high alert, and when we are in towns. The length of my hair seems to cause some issue, I've noticed. Another strange human notion of "status."
People... humans.. have many strange notions. The one we see much of here is the issue of land ownership. They wall off pieces and parcels and say "This is mine." then they fight bloody wars over the rights to those little pieces. It's one of the many things I will never understand about these volatile races.
Several of the guards remarked that there was an on-going war with a race called "orcs", vicious creatures that are almost unstoppable. Apparently if you cut one apart, each piece would become an entirely new being. This is troubling, and quite unnatural.
Troubling for me, especially, because the legends that I have heard about these creatures rumor that they are descended from my own race. I must look more into this.
Lan held commune with her goddess Leilanna, who apparently is the deity of the more normal orcs, but holds no truck with these abominations. She was able to tell us that they are, in fact kill-able, using blunt instruments to incapacitate and fire to destroy completely.
We encountered one of these orcs during the midnight watch while we were on the roads. Lan shifted to her orc form, which thoroughly confused the creature long enough for Fin to brain it, and drag it to the fire pit where it burned to ash.
We encountered two more a few nights later, and one of them shot me with an arrow. I had no warning that he was firing, and so the arrow hit me in the neck. Lev acted quickly though, removing it and healing me. These two were also dispatched, but not before the one who shot me was able to sound an alert on a war horn. On his body, we discovered a strangely fashioned black bow, which fires completely silently. Fin has this in his possession currently, but it might be interesting to see if we can create another like it. We burned these two, and quickly left to travel on with no further incident thankfully.
If the orcs are a traveling war party, that can attack without being heard, then this is worrisome news for the homesteaders and small towns along the roads here.
After a few weeks of traveling along the country roads, we have come to a city called Qualton, which is where my Tobias began his adventures years past. It seems he too has come full circle. He seems nostalgic, and a little weary, but had the opportunity to reunite with one of his old companions - an alchemist of legendary skill called Basil.
While we were visiting with Basil, we commissioned a portion of the batch of healing droughts that he was brewing up. Seeing how our party has a propensity to get ourselves into trouble, this was a necessary investment. The potions would take time to make properly, so we rented some very nice rooms at the Red Hand Inn.
Lev is still showing a strange habit of throwing money around. I worry that this lack of concern for the extravagance that he shows will make us a target for cut-purses and thieves, or even more unsavory characters. I think he sees it as building reputation for his family, but I still recommend caution to him. Sometimes he listens.
The food here is good. The wine even better. It's a nice place to stay, for a city. Lots of trade goods pass through this place,
so we had the opportunity to upgrade a few items and do some
recognizance on the trails ahead.We also had the opportunity to listen to the many bards that came through, and learned of several things happening in this portion of the world.
Including the apparently massive Fashion Show that's held here once a year. Bards and merchants take bets on which colors will be in vogue for the season.
Maybe we can replenish some of our coin with some well placed bets? Tobias recognized the fabric containers being offloaded from the ships as silk merchants that specialized in a peculiar orange fabric.
Fin and Ishmael seem to get along well, and I see them often talking to one another - probably about the party. Ishmael also made friends with an old blind gnome that frequents the bar, and spent several nights deep in conversation with him about the gnomes, and their skills at smithing. I do not know if it gave him any pertinent information for his quest, but it seemed to make them both happy.
Basil had a massive and meticulously kept garden where I found myself wandering almost daily. Walking among the rich earth, trickling waters, and scents of the growing things was familiar in a distant faded way, like an almost forgotten memory of home. It was a peaceful way to spend some time. Notable and surprising were the three entlings that Basil had growing and protected near the back edge of his greenhouse. They are very young yet, and have not achieved intelligence, but it is good to know that the race of ents continues on.
During my daily meditations among Basil's gardens, I made the intuitive discovery that a Sacred Druid is devoted to Balance of the World as a whole. As such, I learned a handful of spells that reflect this. Life and Death. Yin and Yang. I will continue to reflect on this new knowledge, and continue to seek other evidence of the druids who existed before me.
During another of our almost daily visits with Basil, one of the vintners of the city stopped by. This city has a large trade in wines and meads, much to Fin's delight and mine. It has been many years since I've tasted a decent elven brandy.
The vintner recognized me at a glance - which I wasn't expecting - and immediately adopted an almost subservient nature, which was a little disconcerting. I managed to calm the poor boy down, and we spoke for a time. He was able to provide some extremely helpful information regarding the lost library.
Here they call it DragonSpire, and he gave me the directions on how to find what we were searching for, as well as a caution to be wary on the roads in certain places. He spoke of the NorthWest path through the mountains, a set of ruins, a pair of towers, and several other notable landmarks to guide our way.
After our conversation was over, he asked - almost timidly - if I had any of the "coin of the realm". On a whim, I gave him the layan bow that I picked up from the dread priest. I have no use for it, as it is much to noisy and unwieldy for me, and it would be better served back among my people anyway.
He took the bow with wide eyed reverence, and then bolted away on his horse shortly after. I imagine his family and the rest of the vintners will soon know that I have broken my self imposed seclusion at last, and venture again out in the world. It will be interesting to see what happens because of it.
So now we have a destination, comprehensive directions on how to get there, and someone who knows the area reasonably well. The road goes ever on and on... and things will always come full circle.